Since grade school, Kendo was just a dream sport for me. I didn’t have money to pay the fees; I didn’t have the time to train, and hell, I didn’t even know if anyone was practicing Kendo in the Philippines. Kendo was a dream that I thought I would never reach so I just took up basketball.

After graduating college, I was given a chance to achieve that dream, thanks to Igarashi-Sensei. Now that I am working, Kendo is not just a sport, nor is it just a hobby. It isn’t something I do to pass the time.

It was, and still is, my dream. I am living it right now, it has become a major part of my life. I am learning a lot inside and outside the dojo.  Learning the art itself, meeting different people, making new friends, has made me a better person. Kendo consumes me, and I like it that way.

kendoka wearing a zekken of our club

nothing to do… just did a detailed illustration of a kendoka wearing a zekken of our club here at Manila, Philippines. Onegaishimasu!


Winning is just a title, losing is only a state of mind. Anyone can disagree with me, but I like to say it that way. Before, everything was all about winning. I had to beat my batch mates, to attain the same level of Kendo as my sempais, to be acknowledged by Sensei. But after a loss to Fort during Iga Kendo’s 2nd taikai, I realized that I had to re-evaluate my thoughts. It was back to the drawing board for me.

With a new and better outlook, I realized that losing increased my feeling of gratitude. I was happy that I lost to Fort because I learned that I always have to strive hard. I realized that to excel in Kendo  is not that easy. Excellence won’t just magically happen…  all of a sudden you can do Kendo, and you are good at it. It can’t just “pop out” or be given. In Kendo, excellence is like respect, you have to earn it.

My new found optimism helped me regain confidence. Losing is a state of mind, so I told myself:

“Hey, I’m good at this, but I lost.”

I took it one step further and told myself:

“Hey, I’m good at this, but I lost… meaning, I have more room for improvement.”

I found that there was no dead-end for me.  I resolved to do my best. It took me a while to realize that I needed new insights to attain the “Kendo” I hope for. Losing is the perfect opportunity to improve my Kendo practice. Opportunity was knocking at my door and just like that, I finally grabbed it!


Personally, I think Kendo is a sport for rich people. The training fees to pay, the armor, the stuff you need for training, the transportation fees you have to pay etc.  BUT all of these things won’t hinder me from practicing Kendo, the dream I’ve had since I was a kid. I’m just a dreamer, a peasant wanting to become a samurai. What was I thinking? I’m not wealthy enough to be able to pay for all these things. But I think that’s my edge, what drives me to pursue Kendo and excel.  I have to work extra hard, yell harder than anyone else, work hard at my job to earn and pay the fees, work hard so I could win [and not wish to win], work hard to attain the level that I want to attain, work hard so I can be acknowledged. In the 3 years I’ve been practicing Kendo, my hard work is paying off. To use the words of Rock Lee [a character from the anime/manga Naruto]:

“A dropout will beat a genius through hard work.”

I will strive hard to be a good kendoka to my Sensei, a better kouhai to my sempais, and a great sempai to my kouhais.


The little kids were great, doing what they’ve been told to do. I think they had fun wearing bogu and I hope they continue until they reach higher levels so I can teach them what Sensei and my sempais taught me.

The adults in the “non-bogu” class, who wore bogu for the day, are leveling up fast and becoming better. Practice makes perfect, but nobody is ever perfect, so why practice? I’ll tell you why… BECAUSE I KNOW deep down inside, you love Kendo so much. Am I wrong or did I just make you smile? Hehehe. I vow to make you all level up to “bogu class” with all the lessons I can teach you guys. So until then, work hard and sooner or later you’ll be wearing bogu and you won’t even regret a single thing [maybe if you finally get into bogu class and then become busy for a year… that would be a problem tsk tsk tsk…]

To Sensei and all of my sempais, it was an honor to be a shushin in your matches. IT IS HARRRRRRRRRRDDDDD to judge! I did my best in judging despite the fact that a certain person was telling me to always raise the red flag (ehem… Alain-san, ehem).  Hahahaha it is fun to watch you go against each other inside the court, I could feel your seme even if I wasn’t  your opponent, so to speak. ^___^

To the bogu class, I may not have watched everyone’s matches but we all did a good job! I gotta mention some people though…

Teru – Congratulations on winning the shiai. My loss! Haha, but still, I’m grateful for the match. I’ve never fought a kendoka who consistently comes near my maai. You taught me a wonderful thing in our match: learn to fight and strike with all types of maai.

Ain – You finally got the last piece you’ve been waiting for. I’m grateful to have your first kote and do ippon. You really are on a higher level! Must watch out for you starting now. Ain is my 2nd rival now, after Fort. Nice match!

Fort – Our rival standing is 1-1. Hahaha… having you pitted against me since day 1 is really a good thing..for the both of us? [ako oo, ewan ko nalang sa ‘yo hahaha] Leveling up on our own, not backing down from each other, while still keeping the friendship…  Hahaha we are making progress… we are not like the Kendo kids before [2010]. I am looking forward to our next match, and I know It will be a good one.

Lex – My current bucho! From all the Kendo that I saw that day, the one I liked the most was your Kendo [disregarding the kiai-onegaishimasu part]. Despite your ailments [the flu and injuries you have], you were the ONLY female to get to the quarter finals. Your striking is on time, kiai is always there, fumikomi ashi is seen, BUT THE TIMING… GOD! THE TIMING of the debana-kote is really good + the zanshin… I couldn’t have done better.. heck, you’d catch me with one of those if I was your opponent. Palagi mong sinasabi na wala kang kwenta, di ka magaling, panget kendo mo…ikaw nagsasabi nun. But WE are the ones who see your Kendo..AND YOUR KENDO IS REALLY GREAT. Hell, a lot better than your so-called Kendo before. Have confidence, I’m really proud of my bucho. ^____^

Aero – Your best Kendo ever appeared last Saturday. No stopping, good zanshin and all. Very nice Kendo.

Laurie – Kendo is getting better, realllllllyyyyy getting better, needs polishing but reaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllyyyyy gettttttttiiiiinnnggg better. Nice do-ippon by the way, you got me there. If we meet again in shiai, I wouldn’t drop my guard with you, or else… coz you know why? You CAN score, Laurie. Yes you can.*insert evil laugh here*

I would mention you all but the post would be longer. I’ll just post some feedback if the videos are uploaded. Hehehe


About the author:

Ricky Daniel Reyes, or Rikki as many would call him, is a Fine Arts graduate from the University of the Philippines. He is a graphic artist by day, a freelance artist by night, and somewhere in between he is an independent “pinoy komik” writer/artist under the name “Ikotron” (so please check out his stuff in the various manga/anime-cons in the city, especially his manga epic: PARALUMAN: Alaala ni Maria Clara). He is also a graffiti artist late late at night (sometimes until early morning).  He likes to listen to any kind of music as long as he has his headphones, he likes to eat when in the mood, he likes to sleep if he has time, and he likes to practice Kendo even when sleeping.

Rikki, a former cosplayer and current kendo practitioner, is someone who makes keiko all the better because of his enthusiasm. Whether it be doing his own practice or helping others, he infuses the dojo with his bigger than life personality. Being a talented graphic artist, graffiti artist and manga illustrator , that makes him the Club’s default poster, flyer, t-shirt, calling card, membership card, and zekken/nafuda maker. And don’t worry Rikki, you’ll catch up to your sempai…someday.

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